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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawDo I Need to Use Originals or Copies of Documents in an IR-1 Visa Application?

Do I Need to Use Originals or Copies of Documents in an IR-1 Visa Application?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the IR-1, the Immediate Relative Visa; specifically we are discussing this in the context that we deal with the most which is spouses of American citizens processing out of Southeast Asia. Generally speaking we deal a lot with Thailand although we deal with cases in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam; Singapore as well, on a rather frequent basis.  

An IR-1 Visa allows the person who has it to enter the United States in Immigrant status and be granted lawful permanent residence at the time of entry. Their initial I-551 stamp which we have a video on specifically on this channel, their initial i-551 stamp access their temporary green card for the first year of their arrival. Thereafter they are going to be issued with a 10-year green Card, sort of in perpetuity, unlike the Conditional Resident Visa, the person who enters the United States in IR-1 status enters with unconditional lawful permanent residence; again unlike the CR-1.

That being said, what we are specifically discussing with respect to the IR-1 in this particular video is copies vs. original documentation; which is sufficient?  Well the short answer to that question is “it's going to depend on circumstances.” Generally speaking in routine cases, photocopies are going to be sufficient for documentation although there are issues with respect to certification and authentication; I'll get into that in a moment. Again in most cases, copies are going to be sufficient but I do deal with a number of non-routine cases where unfortunately we do have to submit originals and generally speaking or I should say “original certifications” often times. Like for example of court documentation pertaining to a prior criminal record, that type of documentation may be issued in copy format by a given court but it's going to be issued with an original certification stamp certifying that document. For all intents and purposes that document is an original. I will get in to photocopy documents and authentication here in a moment but yeah unfortunately in certain non-routine matters there are certain certificates and things that sometimes the adjudicating officer either with the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of State they simply just want to see originals. For this reason it's a very good idea to contact a legal professional with respect to one's given case if you really have a burning question on this issue because quite frankly it is very difficult to make a general statement on that topic without knowing the specifics of a given case.  With respect to copies in a routine case yes certification and authentication is an issue.  There are various ways to go ahead and certify that a copy is in fact genuine which will be considered sufficient for purposes of processing through the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of State apparatus.

Again though it's probably a good idea to go ahead and contact a legal professional if you have a question on that to go ahead and ascertain further information on exactly how that's going to play out as a practical matter.